It all started with a deep love within each of us for children. We’d talked about it from the beginning, and after having three biological children, we still had thoughts of adoption tickling our minds periodically. It’s such a beautiful picture of Christ’s love for us.
Several years later, we found ourselves in an informational meeting about state-custody adoption. We were there to learn more about adopting a waiting child. My “plan” was rocked. My “ideal” was shattered. The “too good to be true” was revealed, as the truth sank in that most state-custody adoptions take place through foster families. I knew about fostering. I have friends who have served in this way, but they are stronger than me. I did not sign up to have my heart, my husband’s heart, or my kids’ hearts shredded. “It’s not really about us at all. It’s not about what kind of child or situation WE want. It’s a question of what child needs us” the trainer encouraged…and his words ate at me for weeks.
I kind of knew that there was more to adoption than just redemption, but I had never faced it in quite this way. Besides the beauty, there is another painful side to adoption. There is loss – GREAT loss – for both parents and children. There is hurt. The words from our meeting challenged my selfishness – my desire for a “pretty” adoption – my desire for my desire. To me, the idea of adoption was much more ideal than fostering. For my husband, adoption was not yet something he was ready to commit to, but fostering did not scare him. We were on different paths with the same destination.
When our paths merged at the corner of YES and What Are We THINKING, we began foster training classes and tried to prepare for what was ahead. We grieved and prayed and cried as we learned of the plight of so many kids in care, and we resolved ourselves to agree that “the goal is always reunification”. We knew we must set our minds and hearts towards ministry to the children first, but also to the whole family.
We could never have imagined that the Lord would bring us not one, but TWO babies. When the call came, I contacted my husband at work, eager to hear his perspective…truthfully, I was eager to hear his “yes”. He knew his work schedule would prevent him from helping as much as he wanted, so he asked “Well, can you do it?” Tears fill my eyes even as I type this because the answer was no.
No. I cannot do this on my own. Still, I have no doubt that my God CAN, and I’m willing to go with Him. So, with complete unity and trembling hands, we called back to say YES.
The worker explained that the placement would be brief. Within a month, we were told to be prepared for their departure “next month,” but “next month” was as fleeting as the horizon. We moved toward it. We expected to reach it. Yet, it moved. Again and again, it moved, but God didn’t. He held us TIGHTLY and there’s no doubt He repeatedly set us back on our feet when our strength gave out. Prior to this, the longest rollercoaster we had been on lasted about a minute and a half. Foster care has been, by far, the most difficult rollercoaster we have ridden. The ups and downs are indescribable, and our stomachs have plummeted so many times we’ve lost count. So what’s the solution? Just. Hold. On.
Home-studies, reunification plans, court cases, paternity tests, incarceration, extended family, failure, success, failure again….on and on went the ups and downs, and we sheltered two precious children carefully to ensure that they would be as unaware as possible of the storm they were in. We also committed to pray for their parents daily and to find ways to show them love. We did our best to reserve judgement and to allow the team and the courts to take care of the correction while we sought to build bridges and establish relationships with the biological parents of the children we loved so much. The way we saw it, whether the kids were to return home or stay with us forever, the greatest way we could love them would be to love the parents from whom they came.
The road was hard. It was ugly, it was heartbreaking, and it was exhausting. As the case moved on, we became fully convinced that we were simply waiting for the state to give us the children that God had already given us. We continued to pray and work to foster good relationships with the family, while the support team sought the best permanency plan for the kids. For months, we clung to a passage of scripture in Exodus (14:14) that reminded us that even when we could not see a way of escape, it was GOD who would fight for us.
Against all odds, and completely contrary to what we were told from day one, both the team and the court agreed that these beautiful babies had, in fact, come home “forever.” Praise the Lord He brought us through the sea (Psa 117) and on September 2, 2016, we pledged our love and our lives to OUR beautiful daughter and son, forever.
Post-adoption, we continue to pray for their biological families daily and seek ways to show them love and honor. Even though the state says our adoption is closed, we want our children to know their original family as an extension of our own. We frequently tell the kids the story of when they came “home,” and we celebrate the way the Lord has brought our family together. We have been amazed by the Lord’s work through imperfect people in a broken system, and we stand in awe and gratitude of His work in our family. We would not be here, but by His grace